Early on in the life of this blog, I started a feature that I called Friday Fiction. The idea was that once a week, I would create a short story to share with you, my readers. That lasted all of three episodes before I ran into a fierce and unrelenting case of writer’s block which has persisted to this day.
Recognizing that I was suffering from this affliction, I found a Kickstarter project called the Writer’s Block Tarot. It intrigued me and, after reading the description of what the project would be like, I was sold and put my name in the book, quite literally.
The package that I ordered consisted of a tarot deck themed to writing rather than readings, as well as a pack of nine genre cards and a book to explain everything. I’ve been waiting patiently for it to arrive, which it said it would do in April.
I picked up the package from the mailbox yesterday.
The deck was created by Vivian Caethe and illustrated by Amber Peter. The cards are very lovely, photographic pieces of art in and of themselves. Just like a regular tarot deck, there are 22 Major Arcana cards and 56 Minor Arcana cards, split into ten pip cards and four court cards (King, Queen, Knight, and Page) in each of four suits (Keys, Pens, Pages, and Clocks). As the companion manual explains:
“In the Writer’s Block Tarot, the Major Arcana cards represent larger aspects of the plot and characters that the protagonist(s) experience as they go through the story. The Minor Arcana represent the detailed aspects around them that can influence the plot, both conceptually and directly.”
Just like with a regular tarot deck, cards change their meaning depending on whether they’re dealt right side up or upside down. Again, quoting the companion manual:
“A right side up card’s meaning is intended to convey the “loyal” meaning of the card (how it is represented in the spread in relationship to the other cards) versus the upside down or “disloyal” meaning of the card. This is similar to the concept of the synonym and antonym of a word. Loyalty and disloyalty in this case refer to the innate meaning of the card and how well it is conveyed in the situation in which it is placed.”
As an example of one type of card, card 10 from the Major Arcana is the Try/Fail Cycle. “This concept contains all the attempts the character makes to reach the end of the conflict, and their results.” The other type of card, for example, is The Eight of Pens from the Minor Arcana, which deals with Rage. “What enrages [the character]? What makes them so angry that they can barely speak? How do they present this anger?” (These quotes are exemplary and not the full description of each card in the companion manual, which goes into far greater detail for each card.)
Just as with most tarot decks with companion manuals, several spreads are included, and the writer is encouraged to do a spread for every major character in the piece. The writer is also encouraged to either use the deck as the manual suggests or use it in a manner which works for the individual – there is no right or wrong way to use this tool as a means to jumpstart a story.
I’m going to use the deck to write a short story this Friday to try to resurrect the Friday Fiction feature of this blog, and then on Saturday will write about my experiences using the deck. Here’s hoping everything works out according to plan.